My pacemaker story
It all started November 18, 2008.
I was in my office at home working on the show that morning. I started feeling minor discomfort in my chest. I didn't think it was a big deal, but I decided to drive to the emergency room.
While alone in the exam room I passed out. I remember waking up on the table and looking up into the lights with doctors and nurses surrounding me. I asked what happened and was told I'd passed out.....and that my heart had stopped for 60-seconds.
I didn't believe it until a nurse tore the strip of paper off the monitor to show me a flat line of my heart beat for 60-seconds.
St. Elizabeth Cardiologists Dr. Sheldon Brownstein and Dr. Stuart Steinberg were told of my episode. Dr. Brownstein, who I compare to Dr. House on the TV Show, was intrigued and took my case. He says I still hold his record for a patient flatlining the longest and coming out of it on their own!
I've always been a fainter. I get queasy at the sight of blood. Dr. Brownstein believed that when I'd fainted over the years my heart had likely stopped for seconds at a time. He decided that rather than chance my heart stopping again, perhaps while I was driving, or while alone, he would put in a pacemaker.
The date of the surgery was November 21, 2008. I watched the Bengals lose to the Steelers 27-10 from my hospital bed the night before. That was the game Chad Johnson was deactivated by the team for violation of team rules stemming from a flare-up in a team meeting.
The surgery was no big deal. I went home two days later on a Saturday. I insisted on being discharged because I had promised to take Peyton to see the Cheetah Girls in concert at U.S. Bank Arena on that Sunday. In hindsight, that wasn't the smartest of my ideas. I remember huffing and puffing as I walked the steps in the arena.
The pacemaker is a good conversation starter. I rarely feel it. It comes into play at the airport where I have to step to the side and be checked at security. I'm not supposed to ride roller coasters. I avoid magnets. An app on my phone monitors the device and see my cardiologist once a year. I have not fainted since getting it.
I received a new pacemaker August 17, 2018. It was implanted by Dr. J. Christian Hayes of St. E. The process was simple: Incision in my chest. Unscrew the leads to the pacemaker. Take it out. Put a new one in. Attach the leads. Sew me up. I went home later that afternoon.
The battery life was expected to be around 10-12 years. I'll need a replacement around age 65.
However, I firmly believe the roller coaster of Cincinnati sports will shorten the battery life.